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Dances of Uttar Pradesh

Dances of Uttar Pradesh include anything from simple performances to the ceremonious ones of religious importance, called Doms and Bhotiyas. Among these ceremonial dances, the Dhurang or Dhuring are ceremonies related to death; the dances are being performed to free the soul of the dead from evil spirits. These dances are similar to the hunting dances of the Nagas of the eastern Indian borders.

Another dance native to Uttar Pradesh is its seasonal dance, called the Hurka Baul. It is performed during paddy and maize cultivation. The Hurka is the drum, the sole musical accompaniment to this dance, and the Baul is the song. Stories of battles and heroic deeds are sung and performed in this dance.

Another famous dance of Uttar Pradesh is the Chholiya, which is being performed during marriages. It is performed in the Kumaon region of the state. The dance involves male dancers dancing animatedly, armed with swords and shields. One of the six foremost classical dances of India comes from Uttar Pradesh. It is the Kathak, derived from the word 'katha', meaning story. Its origin dates back from the sixth-seventh century AD. Originally, the dance emphasized on religious themes. With the passage of centuries, the dance form experienced changes in styles, and the focus shifted from religion to aesthetics. Over time, the gestures became subtler and focussed on the performer's ability. The dance involves very delicate and intricate movements of the body and a wide range of facial expressions set to very complex time and beats.

The style of Kathak, which was evolved and flourished under the patronage of the Nawabs of Lucknow, is known as the Lucknow gharana of Kathak. It is characterized by precise movements and accompaniment of thumri, which is a semi-classical style of singing. Percussion instruments native to the north India such as the tabla and pakhwaj are used in the Lucknow gharana of Khatak.

The folk arts of Uttar Pradesh which involve dances are the Braj Raslila, associated with the life of Lord Krishna; an incarnation of the Lord Vishnu, and the Ramlila. Ramlila entails narrating the story of Lord Rama, another incarnation of the Lord Vishnu. It is very popular in the entire north India. Then there is Charkula, the traditional folk dance of Braj region, which involves a female dancer dancing, while balancing lighted lamps known as deepikas on her head.

Last Updated On: 2011/07/16

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